Thursday, November 08, 2007

Are the New Rich Different?

Today Robert Frank blogged about the new rich:
A new study from U.K.-based Davies Hickman, commissioned by British Telecom, says the old view of money is “formal, conservative, ‘leather and wood,’ exotic locatons, polo, Bentleys and yachts.” The new rich, by contrast, are more interested in “stealth wealth” and “demonstrating their individuality and uniqueness.”

True — to some extent. Today’s rich are obviously different from Old Money. Yet I’m always surprised at how thoroughly today’s rich try to mimic the established wealthy. The aristocratic sport of polo, for instance, is thriving in Palm Beach and the Hamptons — Old Money haunts taken over by New Money.
* * *
Nelson Aldrich, the Aldrich scion and author of “Old Money,” explained to me once how New Money craves the respect and status of Old. New Money may make fun of the “snooty blue-bloods,” but privately the new rich spend much of their time trying to join their boards, win their friendships and, most of all, get their approval. And considering the alternative, all New Money wants to be Old Money some day.
Perhaps we should let the experts have the last word:

Fitzgerald (updated): "The new rich are very different."

Hemingway: "Yes. They have more money."

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